“In addition to the obligation we here have as Christians to honor this feast [Most Holy Trinity], we have a particular one because, by the Bulls of Approval of the Company, a Pope has given us the Most Holy Trinity as our patron. That should animate all of us, such as we are, to have great devotion to this feast, as also to be very eager not to let any opportunity pass to teach this Mystery.”
Vincent de Paul (CCD:XI:p. 172).
- St. Vincent knew from experience of the importance to have support when you want to achieve something. He knew it when the negotiations for the recognition of the “small” (compared to the “great Jesuit”) Company began in Rome. He knew, moreover, by the number of recommendations that came to him (as a member of the Council of awareness of Queen Margaret) when he had to propose someone to the Holy See to the appointment of a bishop… Human supports, obviously, but, we know he also trusted the divine support, the Holy Trinity.
- The first of the obligations St. Vincent asked his missionaries was to “celebrate this feast with great devotion.” We can easily understand the term “celebrate” in the sense of “commemorate an event, especially if a ‘party/feast’ or other event alike is organized.” More difficult to understand is how to do it “with great devotion.” I would translate it with “being noticed by the rest.” Truthfully, we do not try to “understand” the mystery; but, even so, the “mystery” is to be celebrated with songs, laughter and celebration.
- The second of the obligations is “teaching” this mystery. Difficult task: it is impossible to understand and difficult to believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; so, how can we teach it?
- Third and last obligation: this teaching must be done “at all times,” “early and late.” This may very well be one of Vincent’s deepest thoughts and convictions, an interpretative key of the Vincentian Mission. The strength of expression and finding it in other texts allows us to say so. We would have, thus, one of the key lines in the life of the Vincentian family.
Questions for dialogue:
- Have you ever thought about this or similar texts from St. Vincent de Paul?
- What place does the celebration have in your life?
- Is your community a place of joyful celebration of faith?
- What do you suggest the sentence: “believe in the Father, follow the Son and wait for the Holy Spirit”?
- Do you think the mystery of the Trinity is in the core of the Vincentian Family?
Mitxel Olabuenaga, C.M.